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The RJC Presidential Candidate Forum hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition on December 7 seemed to confuse "the last candidate standing" with "last comic standing."
I was fortunate enough to be a part of the nine-student delegation that attended the forum, which was held in Washington D.C. The experience was not only an educational experience but also a thoroughly entertaining event. The Republican candidates donned their metaphorical boxing gloves as they vied for the "most Israel-loving, Ayatollah-hating" title.
In all seriousness, the candidates discussed big and pivotal political stances in this upcoming election, including but not limited to the economy, repealing Obamacare, and the Iranian threat. Each candidate had a generic approach with a unique twist to each issue. Though completely unintentional, it was these distinct nuances that, perhaps, lead to the Great Republican Comedy Act of 2012.
When I had heard only days before that Herman Cain had suspended his campaign, I was disappointed. His abdication of the political throne, and return to pizza king, meant that he would not be attending the RJC forum, and that we, the audience, would suffer the loss of a headliner comedian. But G-d pulled through, and bestowed us "lord fearing" Republicans with six candidates: Rick Santorum, John Huntsman, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Michelle Bachman. I am so grateful to them as they provided me with enough comic relief to sustain me until primary day.
The forum lasted from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and as each candidate gave his shpiel, my political affiliation finally made sense to me. Democrats aren't half as funny. My heart goes out to those of you who were not in attendance because you have been deprived of the most Republican entertainment since Sarah Palin's Russia sighting.
The RJC Presidential Forum was less of a debate and more of a contest. Each candidate gave a ten-minute speech in which they attempted to prove that they were more Jewish than Moses himself, and then took questions from the audience.
First to take the stage was Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania and an Israel-loving Mormon who won the crowd over with his rhetoric about Islam and his roasting of Joe Biden. He advised the college students in the audience to "take exactly what Joe Biden says and say exactly the opposite and you'll be right one-hundred percent of the time, not ninety-nine percent." As the day progressed, the Obama administration had become the Slytherin of America, while the Republican party was Gryffindor prevailing against the evils of "he whose middle name is Hussein."
As the day progressed, the candidates surpassed comedic heights I never knew existed. The next candidate to take the stage was John Huntsman, former Governor of Utah, who has been dubbed the Obama of the G.O.P candidates. His stances are more liberal than his competitors (he supports gay marriage), which cost him large points in the polls. More registered Republicans are likely to vote for Jimmy Carter than John Huntsman. His theatric speech advocated for congressional term limits, and attacked the current leadership that has created a "deficit of trust" in the American people.
Mitt Romney, a leading candidate, took the stage next and gave a strong speech that had one audience member note that he would "buy a used car from him." His speech was poignant, powerful and persuasive as he took multiple shots at Obama, Iran, and the Palestinian Authority.
In reference to the president, Romney noted "when Obama comes to defend freedom, he's either late to the game or fails to show up at all." I guess he's not betting $10,000 on Obama's sports capabilities. But the Obama jokes just kept coming. "For the last three years we have had a lot of change but haven't had much hope." The audience ate that line up, responding with a standing ovation. Way to go, Mormon Man!
Newt Gingrich spoke next, but was more mammal than reptile, ripping the Obama administration into tiny shreds. He challenged Obama to a series of Lincoln-Douglas debates, and his joke that "the president can even use a teleprompter" had the audience reaching for their inhalers. The Jewish audience found this funnier than any mother-in-law crack. In all honesty, Gingrich was a magnetic speaker who connected with the audience in a way that other candidates can only dream about. As the Iowa caucuses have shown, Gingrich has surprised us all and has become a force to be reckoned with.
The RJC made the right decision in having Michelle Bachman end the day, as it left all of us in high spirits. I can only pray that Bachman and Trump decide to join forces because together they can combat world depression. Bachman discussed her close relationship to the Jewish people and Israel, noting that she spent time on a kibbutz after graduating high school. John Stewart highlights her commitment perfectly. "Michelle Bachman loves Israel so much, she was willing to join a socialist collective." It is truly heartwarming to see the sacrifices people make on behalf of the Jewish people.
The RJC Presidential Forum was a phenomenal day that taught me a life long lesson. As long as you have a birth certificate (and even if you don't), anyone can make it in America. I'm thinking "Jerry Seinfeld for President." Who's with me?
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